Mark Travers made his debut for Bournemouth against Tottenham on Saturday afternoon, but who is the 19-year-old goalkeeper?
Well, the Irishman may not be a household name yet, but judging by his accomplished performance in his senior debut and a pretty extraordinary stat from earlier on in his career, we'll be seeing a lot more of the young goalkeeper.
1. He Started Out Playing in Ireland as a Schoolboy
Travers started out playing for Dublin-based Cherry Orchard before joining the youth ranks at Shamrock Rovers in July 2015, playing in the SSE Airtricity Under-17 League, winning an All-Ireland title along the way.
After a successful trial spell, he signed for Bournemouth as a 17-year-old in July 2016 and initially worked in the under-21's before being elevated to the first-team squad under goalkeeper coach Neil Moss.
2. He Scored a Winner (Yes, a Winner) Whilst on Loan at Weymouth
This is pretty unbelievable, but during a loan spell in the 2017/18 season, Travers scored the winner in a 3-2 thriller for Weymouth against Bishop's Stortford in the Southern Premier League and to top it off, it was his debut for the club.
With the game tied at 2-2, Weymouth had a free-kick inside their own half and Travers managed to find the back off the net, lobbing the Bishop's Stortford goalkeeper from 75 yards out.
Speaking after the match, as quoted by The Argus, Travers said: "It’s my first ever goal and, with my debut for Weymouth, it’s a plus to get the winner. I didn’t think I’d be saying that at the start of the day!
“I had a look up first time and saw the goalkeeper on about his 18-yard box. I had another think about it and said ‘right I’ll give it a go’. I ended up hitting it quite well and it ended up going in, so I was pleased.”
3. He's Already Been Called Up by Mick McCarthy to the Full Ireland Squad
Travers had represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level and was called up to the senior squad by Mick McCarthy for in March 2019. He was an unused substitute in their Euro 2020 qualifiers against Gibralter and Georgia.
McCarthy thought it would be a good experience for Travers, sampling the senior international setup and working alongside veteran Darren Randolph.
4. He's Rated Very Highly at Bournemouth and Could Quickly Become First Choice
With a shake up in the goalkeeper department likely next season, Travers could be in line to get plenty more minutes for Bournemouth. Regular goalkeeper Asmir Begovic has been in and out of the side amid rumours of a bust-up with boss Eddie Howe.
Until now, the Bosnian has been replaced by Artur Boruc, but with the former Polish international now 39 years old, it appears Howe has his sights on Travers as the successor to the throne.
Speaking before their match against Tottenham, as quoted by the Daily Mail, Howe said: 'We rate Mark very highly. He has great character, great attitude and huge potential. This is a chance for him to show what he can do.'
5. He's The Youngest Goalkeeper to Play in the Premier League in 13 Years
📊 @afcbournemouth's Mark Travers (aged 19 years, 351 days) makes his senior debut & becomes the youngest 'keeper to play in the PL since Joe Hart in October 2006.@SpursOfficial average 3.1 goals per game v Bournemouth, their best GPG against any PL team pic.twitter.com/HT5h4ftNTz— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) May 4, 2019
Upon making his debut for the Cherries on Saturday afternoon against Tottenham, Travers became the youngest goalkeeper to play in the Premier League since Joe Hart in 2006.
He had an excellent game, keeping a clean sheet along with 100% aeriel collections. He made multiple fine saves in the first half although two red cards for Tottenham meant he became a spectator for much of the second half.